Don't blame Constitution - Trevor Manuel

2012-09-04 12:12

Johannesburg - The Constitution cannot be blamed for the slow pace of change in South Africa, said Planning Minister Trevor Manuel.

"The Constitution empowers and enables, but beyond that, actual change requires human actions," he said.

Manuel was addressing the opening session of a conference entitled "Strategies to Overcome Poverty and Inequality - Towards Carnegie III" at the University of Cape Town.


He said the Constitution provided South Africans with the values that bound them and enabled them.

Policy could also not be blamed for hampering transformation.

"Policy should guide and provide a framework for evaluating the progress of actions by people. Policy documents do not suddenly assume the ability to walk, talk and act - they only guide."

Manuel said it was important to realise how different elements of policy intersected and mutually reinforced each other.

"Too often the economic policy discussion ends with slogans about macro-economics, and all this does is to warn the listener that we have not matured sufficiently to understand that transformation is only possible in an environment of stability created by sound macro-economic policies.

"And that change comes from advancing the implementation of rational, progressive social- and micro-economic policies."

The government was not solely responsible for the transformation of South Africa.

"Whilst government should never be allowed to devolve its responsibility, the process is actually a bit more complex," Manuel said.

The National Planning Commission was of the view that transformation occurred when a number of agencies interact.

Active citizenry, leadership

"The first, and perhaps the most important of these is an active citizenry - a nation whose conscience is vested in the ordinary women and men who comprise and who act in their own and in the national interest - they cannot outsource this responsibility to government."

Manuel said the second agency was leadership.

"When we speak of leadership, we counter the notion of the 'big man'. Our model of leadership is one that involves tens of thousands of active citizens who take initiative, in the common interest."

The third agency for change is an effective government at local, provincial and national levels.

"An effective government is responsive to the needs of its people, in its listening, policy priorities and allocation of resources."

Manuel said transformation would not be possible without the close interaction of these three agencies.

The University of Cape Town, with the support of the National Planning Commission, is holding a conference to stimulate deeper thinking about strategies to overcome poverty and inequality in South Africa.

This is seen as the first stage of the third Carnegie inquiry in this country. Manuel said 304 papers had already been submitted for discussion.

The first Carnegie inquiry into poverty in South Africa was published in 1932 and focused on the "poor white" problem "and, as a consequence, entrenched the poor black problem", Manuel said.

The second Carnegie Report on poverty in South Africa was produced in 1984 by Francis Wilson and Mamphela Ramphele.

  • Arm_Witmens - 2012-09-04 12:19

    "An effective government is responsive to the needs of its people, in its listening, policy priorities and allocation of resources." - there you have it. an EFECTIVE government. The anc is a infectious disease that caters to the black elite at the cost of the poor. Tic toc Zuma and cohorts. Tic Toc.

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-09-04 12:30

      I like his position. Our constitution is quite strong, democratically speaking. We have to protect it at all costs. Change other things, don't touch our constitution.

      hermann.hanekom - 2012-09-04 12:31

      Looks like Manual is talking himself out of a job under Zuma.

      Willie - 2012-09-04 12:35

      Trevor blah blah blah yadi yadi yadi no action expert in giving good speeches no ACTION

      sean.bagley.50 - 2012-09-04 12:48

      It's the Constitution that's still keeping South Africa together.Had it not been for that piece of paper South Africa would be completely ****ed by now.The constitution is just slowing down the inevitable. Julias Malema and company wants to wipe out white South Africans and the Boeremag wants to wipe out black South Africans.Both extreme situations and views by numbnuts in the country and its only the constitution that prevents that from happening right now and allows South Africa to still have a sense of normality and civilized society.

      daleinn - 2012-09-04 13:31

      People need jobs, the fact that there is so much of unemployment in this country , dicrimination will be the common trump card, to cry foul when employment policies arent monitored by the labor department. this country is dealing with a mass influx of unemployed youth,HIGHLY educated, with no experience and job opportunities. It goes back to the government to drive in foreign investment and programs to create jobs. But wait we screwing foreign investment wiht the mining debacle, handled pathetically amongst leaders, while the risk of unemployment may gain further momentum. I smell the greed in governement that is tearing this nation apart.

  • Kacee - 2012-09-04 12:19

    Guess we need new leadership?

      breinlekkasie.dodelikegif - 2012-09-04 13:39

      No we need new voters!

  • atholl.canterbury - 2012-09-04 12:21

    ALL Ministers and Premiers (And Judges) swear an oath to protect the Constitution. The Constitution says that Administrative action must be Lawful, Reasonable and procedurally fair. Ministerial decisions that PROTECT the Unlawful, Unprocedural and Unfair action --- is the problem. Corruption and Crime is Unconstitutional.

  • charmain.nel.7 - 2012-09-04 12:23

    Is just as stupid as the rest who got SA into this situation the STUDID PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT THEY COULD RUN THIS COUNRTY, this is a new Zimbabwe

  • joahan.smal - 2012-09-04 12:25

    Mr Manual, if you marginalize your most productive citizens with racist laws, the government of the day keeps on stealing billions and you keep on blaming the past for current inabilities to perform, there is no way that South Africa's majority will ever rise out of poverty. You are talking to the wrong people. Talk to the ANC.

      joahan.smal - 2012-09-04 14:39

      Katleho, I have been through the affirmative action mill and I did my part to support and help the previously disadvantaged to excel. What I received for my efforts were one person that got involved in illegal activities using my business for it and another that pulled corporate prostitution on me and accepted a better offer before the person was ready for it. The one that got involved in illegalities disappeared from the scene, the other is currently under investigation for fraud running into the millions. And then for your information, I am very well off and this is because I am even at my age very productive. I have tried to do my bit for the previously disadvantaged and were nearly blacklisted for trying to help them. In fact I don't give a damn anymore about anyone trying to get a free ride on the wrongs of the past. I have made ample provision for my family and to hell with the previously disadvantaged. Get your beloved ANC to make provision for you because obviously you can't do it for yourself.

      grant.hide - 2012-09-04 14:53

      Yes my ansestors wer sick people, and now i must pay for their crimes that i had no part of. My family had nothing to do with it either cause we just survived on a moderate income. Now I'm told i dont fit the bee profile. So now i have to start my business. All you racist pigs can show us is your laany cars and sheeple following you around and voting for the same crooks who have been given trillions in tax. Lets not forget when none of us have work, tax income for the pigs will dwindle the more the reverse apartheid continues. You are no better than our evil ancestors.

  • jan.human - 2012-09-04 12:25

    You can bring a horse to the water... but you can't force him to drink....Empowerment means actions from the recipient.... BIG problem... In SA they are not willing to act.... only react...Receive..... not give....Put everybody on the same level and let competition bring out the strongest. Only then there will be a strong economy... But HeiHo... TIA!!! This is Africa.... We demand!!!

  • sandra.j.rennie - 2012-09-04 12:31

    Mr Manuel Then I suggest you start educating the Idiots that are in power and give those who have the intelligence more leeway. Do away with AA and BEE and you will notice a massive change.

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-09-04 12:32

    Heres a though-How about clamping down on violent strikes by "citizenz",get corruption in government under control,stop allowing a select,elitest few to dictate terms of buisness and get a police force which has REAL police,not pocket liners!

  • terrylee.heuer - 2012-09-04 12:35

    Mr Manuel I don't have a problem working towards a better South Africa, but the ANC is on a get rich scheme with taxpayers money and are so stubborn they don't want to listen to what other parties have to offer on the table to make things better or work for the country (ie DA) they don't want to educate the poor and uplift them but want their votes...its like hitting our heads against a brick wall if you want to see the NDP work by 2030 then change has to come within the Govt cause they are not listening to the plight of the people get rid of corruption NOW fire people not suspend with full pay money is being wasted by years of waiting for outcomes of investigations corruption should be dealt with swiftly well I could go on but I got to go!!! Believe me most of us want to work together and most of us want a better SA!!!

  • malcolm.macleod.562 - 2012-09-04 12:45

    I don't blame the constitution Trevor, I blame YOU.

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-09-04 12:55

      @malcolm - brilliant! you've hit the nail on the head. And a damned hard head at that! Taken Trevor 3 years to get to that conclusion and I could have told him that in 15 minutes, maybe in 5 minutes.

      colin.dovey - 2012-09-04 13:10

      5 seconds! :-)

  • bongeka.magwaza - 2012-09-04 12:46

    Yes Minister Manuel you're very right about that.South Africa has a very good constitution but government office bearers or officials seem to be abusing it. The people in the offices don't do what the constitution and polices require them to do for the people. So who do we turn to for help because the we've lost faith and trust from the people who're supposed to be serving us.

  • Greypatriot - 2012-09-04 12:46

    Trevor probably correctly identified the three critical levers. But a critical logic applies. Active citizenry is an outcome driven by firstly leadership and then effective government. Just like a great company requires great leadership, then great management and then inspires employee engagement. We must get the start-up routine right. Once we all understand what great leadership means and comprises we will create the great nation that we all strive for. Leadership is the ability to inspire excellence, a dream of greatness (to build a great nation and to end poverty and neglect) and a commitment by leaders, officials and citizens to serve selflessly for the common good.

  • Nare James Mashamaite - 2012-09-04 12:50

    As an active citizen, I would like to contribute to the faster elimination of poverty: First, President Zuma shares his personal millions, if not billions, with 50000 poor families in SA. All political leaders trade in their enxpensive cars n use cheaper ones, the money made goes to feeding the rest of the poor families. the rest must learn n take it from there.

      keith.roberts.98434 - 2012-09-04 13:55

      Giving, giving, giving doesn't solve any problems, it merely creates more - an expectation that you will keep on giving. Rather create conditions in which jobs can be created and people can fend for themselves.

  • musawenkosi.mvubu - 2012-09-04 12:52

    You are more than right Mr.Manuel the problem is the Government of your party the African National Congress cannot provide decisive leadership in South Africa. Their speeches always have \we should, there must be, it has to be\. To me these satements shows you are either not incharge or hesitant of what you are doing.

      keith.roberts.98434 - 2012-09-04 14:03

      Yes, and the anc is handicapped by its statements made in the past where it promised the Earth and it could not deliver. Rather than admit that it made a mistake the anc blames everybody and everything else. Be responsible and admit that you cannot satisfy ALL the wants of ALL the people, and start again without the empty promises. If it was sure of its constituency the anc would see that IT is the problem. Stop thinking like a communist, think of what South Africa needs.

  • carvern - 2012-09-04 12:56

    Trevor is just another pedlar of the ANC

  • mantothieve.missingman - 2012-09-04 12:57

    Blame the anc who ells ?

  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-09-04 13:05

    And yet I don't see him giving up his fat pay cheque or flashy car to aid the poor....all talk and no action as usual.

      keith.roberts.98434 - 2012-09-04 14:06

      Again, giving up your salary will not help the situation. Creating jobs will. If CEOs are stopped from earning high salaries they will stop making jobs for the rest of us.

  • mike.clery - 2012-09-04 13:07

    "When we speak of leadership, we counter the notion of the 'big man'. Our model of leadership is one that involves tens of thousands of active citizens who take initiative, in the common interest." There, Mr Manuel, is the problem. To achieve anything collectively, you have to have leaders. This ANC "collective" isn't working - there's NO leadership and no-one takes responsibility for anything. If your model is workable, why have government at all?

  • daleinn - 2012-09-04 13:13

    It starts with effective leadership that is accountable for running of an effective government, that creates an environment and platform for its citizens to particpate. ANC are policy makers, but not policy doers>>>no action, just corruption at its best! Im not sure why people vest their time to listen to such speaches....wheres the true leaders out there???

  • denny.cray - 2012-09-04 13:15

    The ANC swept into office with promises of sunshine, butterflies and chocolate for everyone. In other words - politics as usual. We should expect politicians to keep their promises even though realistically we know they won't (and normally can't). The ANC feeds and relies upon the tyranny of the majority. I cannot see them doing anything which will upset the status quo. The only somewhat likely "way out" I can envisage is some major split within the ANC. There are no guarantees the end result from that will be better than what we have now.

  • trevor.myburgh.12 - 2012-09-04 13:15

    Another dik gestruikde Br-a with no soul. and more blah blah He must lick his lips then he can taste the sh is talking.

  • george.lyon.756 - 2012-09-04 13:17

    After 1994, I lost my job because of BEE. I started my own business and now since I have been succesfull, I have to comply again with the BEE score card. Madness. First you lose your job. Now you must provide jobs other wise you are not intitled to be in business.

      keith.roberts.98434 - 2012-09-04 14:09

      Start a business which doesn't deal with the government. The general public couldn't care less about BBBEE it cares about service and price.

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-09-04 16:08

      @keithroberts One has to be BEE compliant when dealing with Corporates and Small businesses alike, not only the Government departments !

  • michael.freeman.16752 - 2012-09-04 13:23

    What a joke 1)Active citizenry - We now have apartheid in reverse.All citizens must forget the past and live in peace. 2)Leadership - Please Mr Manuel tell me where there is leadership in the ANC. 3)Effective Government- At present there is NO EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT IN THIS COUNTRY. The ANC are blaming the Constitution that's why they are trying to change it

  • bobo.jane.1 - 2012-09-04 13:23

    There is nothing wrong with the constitution, but what`s happening ? Instead you have the current mindset of Idiots..... And their every day To-do list. 1.Pelt police with stones 2.Burn down schools 3.Block roads off and prevent others from getting to work. 4.Damage other peoples/government property 5.Kill employer/co workers and blame it on a wage dispute 6.Start a taxi war 7.Get motherless and spaced out 8.Contract AIDS and be a burden on the economy 9.Do crime and get time off work to go to court 10.........

      keith.roberts.98434 - 2012-09-04 14:13

      Yes, if you don't get enough water, burn down the pump station. If you don't get enough electricity,pull down the electric cables. If you don't have w ork, stop everyone else from working. Whatever your grievance, destroy something, and the more you destroy the happier you become.

  • steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-09-04 13:26

    Good grief Uncle Trevor. Surely as a man of above-average intelligence, you can see what is going on. Please tell me good Sir, why is it that SARS is the ONLY government department that functions well? And why do you keep on defending the cANCer, when it is failing us and our constitution? The good Bishop got very upset and voiced his opinion. Maybe you and other serious thinkers in this country, need to start campaigning for a big clean-up. Storm clouds are gathering.

  • mirrorman.smith - 2012-09-04 13:26

    Trevor for president! Well said!

  • ruben.maistry - 2012-09-04 13:30

    Mr. Manuel please educate your comrades, ie. the ministers in government. We know and practice what you say,however the majority in your party tend not to pay heed.All they strive for is "what's in it for them" If you want to add value to your country, SPEAK OUT,yes you will be victimised by your comrades,if you care, it's the RIGHT THING TO DO.

  • bongani.nsele.58 - 2012-09-04 13:35

    julius malema once said he is a minister of planning who has planned nothing for 4 years, constitutions have been revisited all over the world as circumstances this one cast in stone trevor?

  • kevin.moxham.3 - 2012-09-04 14:14

    If Mr Manuel is saying this - why in practice does our leaders and thier cadres focus on the opposite - For me actions are louder than words Mr Manuel....!!!

  • aj.coetzee.9 - 2012-09-04 14:28

    It seems no matter what the topic the comments stay the same. BEE has its shortcomings but it is a well thought out system established to assist in transforming society. If you cant buy in to the future of South Africa its your own problem people. Dont blame government, dont blame BEE or use any excuses. Manuel is right: we need transformation. Not in work conditions or living conditions. in our minds, our attitudes and our relationship to fellow citizens of this country. Stop acting like spoilt children crying for the teat of privilege please.

  • sefako.mokgalaka - 2012-09-04 15:17

    So many words used to explain the government's inability to eradicate poverty and manage resources properly. We have had so many stories from RDP, GEAR and vision 2030. Enough now. Next election we need to know how much has been done not what still needs to be done.

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